William Carlos Williams said “It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.” In this workshop, using model poems, writing from prompts and exercises, we’ll work on combining the news of our poems with the lyrical music that carries them from the brain to the heart. Syntax, voice, juxtaposition, and surprise can all help the narrative poem stay a poem, with the nimbleness and loft that a good poem has, while still conveying important real-world information. There will be ample time to write and share what we’ve written in class with the group, but we will not be workshopping previously-written poems.
Alison Luterman has been a storyteller since she first learned to talk. Her poems are voice-driven and often revolve around twice-told stories, synthesizing and deepening “what happened” to find unexpected moments of human truth. Her poetry books are The Largest Possible Life, See How We Almost Fly, and Desire Zoo. Two of her poems appear on The Library of Congress website as part of the Poetry 180 project. One of her poems was featured for several years on BART, and another poem, “I Confess” was on view for commuters in Portland’s public transit system. She has had poems published in many magazines and anthologies, including The Sun, Prairie Schooner, Poetry East, Oberon, Kalliope, The Brooklyn Review, The Atlanta review, Slipstream, and Salt River Review. She has taught poetry to thousands of children through California Poets in the schools, and to adults at Esalen Institute, Omega Institute, the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference, and The Mendocino Coast Writer’s Conference. In addition to poems and stories, she has also published an e-book of personal essays, Feral City, from shebooks.net. And she writes plays, too! See her web site www.alisonluterman.net for more details.